Essay - Privatization of the Prison System and the Impact of the...


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PRIVATIZATION OF THE PRISON SYSTEM AND THE IMPACT OF THE DIFFERENTIATION OF SENTENCING IN POWDER VERSUS CRACK COCA*****E *****FENSE ***** THE ***** ON AFRICAN AMERICAN OFFENDERS

I. HISTORICAL BACKGROUND OF THE POLICY

In 1986 and 1988, the U.S. Congress passed federal sentencing laws related to crack cocaine that differentiated the sentences imposed upon defendants in powder and ***** cocaine ***** offenses in what is known as the 'Anti-Drug Abuse Act of *****'. These stricter sentencing guidelines were ***** to address the emerging *****sue of crack cocaine which w***** perceived to be."..a social menace that was categorically different from ***** ***** in its physiological and psychotropic effects." Crack cocaine is powder ***** mixed with banking soda ***** then cooked in***** hard rocks, which are then broken up into smaller pieces and sold to those who use the drug by smoking it. Crack cocaine is cheaper than ***** cocaine and aroused great public concern when it first h***** ***** streets in t*****e Uni*****d States. According to Alfred Blumstein of Carnegie Mellon University, as reported ***** Coyle (2002) in the work entitled: "Race ***** Class Penalties in Crack Cocaine Sentencing" crack cocaine began as an innovation in the drug market "***** distribution rights *****d boundaries were apportioned amongst competitors with the use of violence." (*****, 2002) The following table relates the median street-level dealer drug quantities and mandatory minimum ***** by ***** Anti-Drug Act ***** 1986.

***** Street-Level Drug Quantities and Mandatory Minimums

Drug

***** Drug Weight

Mandatory Minimum

Crack Cocaine

52 grams

10 years

Powder *****

340 *****

Source: Coyle (2002

Congress created the United ***** Sentencing Commission in 1984 for ***** purpose of developing federal sentencing guidelines for the purpose of bringing about a reduction ***** sentencing disparity. By 1994 in alliance with provisions set out in the Omnibus Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, the Commission was instructed to conduct a study relating to different penalties in powder- ***** crack-cocaine *****. ***** study lasted the duration of one year with recommendations by ***** Commission to the U.S. Congress ***** revise the crack/powder 100:1 sentencing disparity due to findings that due ***** ***** small differences in the two forms of coca*****e that such sentencing disparities were not justifiable. Commission advised an equalization (1:1) ***** the quantity ratio that would require mandatory sentencing ***** to the two forms of cocaine. Commission recommendations included advisement that guidelines in ***** sentenc*****g should be based ********** criteria other than the type ***** ***** for determination of ***** lengths ***** sentences. These recommendations ***** rejected by the U.S. Congress along with refusal ***** make changes to the law and was in fact the first such move in the history of the United States Sentencing ***** since ********** *****mation. Once again, recommendations were made in April 1997 regarding ***** ***** in sentencing *****tween crack- ***** powder-cocaine that the *****ial ***** should be balanced through provision of a range of 2:1 to 15:1 for Congress to choose from among. This new recommendation "was based on both raising

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